Having served at nearly every level of the organization, Norma Pountney has come full circle during her time with OPL. She started as a volunteer who gradually worked her way up to become the interim library director. Now in retirement, she has returned again as a volunteer!
In 1974, Pountney left a career in data processing to pursue a career in library services. This change presented new challenges as she tried to balance commuting to school and taking care of her family. As a volunteer at W. Dale Clark Main Library with managerial experience and a business background, Pountney was hired as a part-time specialist at Charles B. Washington Branch in 1995, and continued to acquire promotions in leadership positions until her retirement in 2016.
Not long after her retirement, Pountney returned to her home branch in Elkhorn to continue providing support to OPL. “I believe in libraries,” Pountney said. “I use the library a lot, and I strongly believe in their purpose of giving people access.” Pountney provides support to the branch by shelving books, specifically in the children’s collection. In large part, her responsibilities include maintaining the space by organizing and arranging the materials, making it easier to browse.
Before the pandemic, Pountney tutored first and second-graders at a nearby school and served as a caller for the community bingo hall. As businesses and organizations began to reemerge from the pandemic, volunteering at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch was her first step toward reengaging with her community. Using her creative skills, she also devotes her time to creating quilts for Lutheran World Relief. The quilts are sent worldwide to areas in need. She shares her quilts locally by making custom quilts for the graduating high schoolers at her church.
“I enjoyed my time at OPL and that’s one of the reasons I came back,” Pountney said. In addition to her church and volunteer work, she is also a book club member at Elkhorn Branch. “It’s important that you get out and help out,” said Pountney.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at OPL, visit your neighborhood branch or omahalibrary.org/volunteer to apply.